Throughout the years, I have found it more beneficial to keep anchor charts simple and clean. I know what you are thinking: “…but Sara, I have a 12-pack of Mr. Sketch markers, and I NEED to use them all.” First, put the markers down. Second, take a deep breath. Phew! You don’t need to use every color in the rainbow in order to create a successful anchor chart, and it doesn’t need to be a work of art.
I have found the most successful anchor anchor charts to contain: the objective, topic, definition and example. That’s it! Keep is simple, keep it clean.
At the top of every anchor chart, I write an “I can” statement from the Common Core State Standards. I usually draw a target or star and then write the objective.
Then I write the topic in large, easy to read print.
Under the topic I write the definition.
Lastly, I draw or write an example
Here is an example of a math anchor chart for area. You can see the information is presented in a clean and simple manner.
These steps can vary slightly by genre. For example, for reading anchor charts I don’t typically write a definition, but I always include an example from a mentor text. There is inevitably more writing on these anchor charts, so it is important to streamline as much as possible.
In addition to posting your anchor chart in the room, you can take a picture of the chart and have students glue or place this in their journal or folder. Now they have a mini anchor chart to look back at whenever they are confused or feel like they need a refresher.
Remember: An anchor chart is there as a reference for your students, so make it accessible to them. Let this sink in a little, and I promise you will be a little less mad at me in the morning. Believe me, I love an overly decorated anchor chart as much as the next teacher, but in the end I think it’s best to keep it simple and clean.
Sara Mac is a third grade teacher and co-founder of Inclusive Insights. She lives in Boston but loves to summer in Newport. You can stay up-to-date with all her happenings on Instagram and Facebook. Don’t forget to check out her stupendous TpT store!